Here's a photo taken from some type of aeroplane-thingy at SpeedWeek '07, I think.
To give some idea of the scale -- the pits are visible in the upper left corner of the photos -- and are about 2 1/2 - 3 miles away from the start lines, which are in the center/bottom of the page. There are two courses -- a "long" course, which is five measured miles plus some shut down, and a "short" course, which is three measured miles plus shutdown.
Between the courses, and quite a ways down -- you can vaguely see the timing tower -- a larger structure than the small cars/trucks that are stationed between courses as "course watchers". The tower is about three miles from the start line.
Way, way back -- just visible as a darker strip, before the base of the mountains -- is water, followed by some dry salt, then the foothills. Note that there's enough traction for vehicles to leave black strips where they've spun their tires.